Wednesday, June 19, 2019

1) NZ foreign minister to raise West Papua issues with Indonesia



2) West Papuan Liberation Movement applies for full MSG membership

3) ULMWP applies for MSG membership

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1) NZ foreign minister to raise West Papua issues with Indonesia
New Zealand's Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, says he will raise concerns over human rights abuses in West Papua with his Indonesian counterpart.
Winston Peters at the select committee today. Photo: RNZ / Charlie Dreaver
Mr Peters was responding to a question from Green Party foreign affairs spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman in a select committee hearing today.
Ms Ghahraman said there had been "concerning" developments in Papua and asked the Foreign Minister if he would raise this with Indonesia.
Mr Peters said he will bring it up with Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi when she visits New Zealand soon.
"It is a concern, not just for New Zealand, but particularly with Melanesian countries and our job is to try and help Indonesia solve the problem for us, so that's what our objective is and we do have a plan to go about it but it will take some time."
Winston Peters said in March that violence in Papua would have to end before negotiations between rebels and the state could start.


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2) West Papuan Liberation Movement applies for full MSG membership

27 minutes ago 

Johnny Blades, RNZ Pacific Journalist johnny.blades@rnz.co.nz

The United Liberation Movement of West Papua has officially submitted an application for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The Liberation Movement already has observer status in the regional group whose full members are Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia's Kanaks.



Vanuatu’s Special Envoy for West Papua, Lora Lini, hands over the United Liberation Movement for West Papua's application for full membership in the Melanesian Spearhead group to the MSG Deputy Director General Peter Eafeare. ULMWP executive member Paula Makabory (middle) observes. Photo: Supplied
A formal handover for the Liberation Movement's membership application took place at the MSG's Secretariat in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila.
Vanuatu's Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu said the membership application follows new membership criteria and procedure as approved at last year's MSG Summit in Port Moresby.
The new application was yesterday presented to the MSG secretariat in Port Vila on behalf of the Liberation Movement by Vanuatu's Special Envoy for West Papua, Lora Lini.
Ms Lini said that the application was made according to membership criteria established by a MSG sub-committee on regional and institutional issues.
"This particular criteria has been to the leaders, has been to the officials, the foreign ministers. That's why this was approved last year by leaders," she explained.
"The current application by ULMWP is in compliance with the criteria."
While the Liberation Movement has carefully followed the guidelines in its application, the MSG's decision will be a political one.
"It will all boil down to that," Ms Lini admitted, "but with the criteria, it should give some guidelines to leaders."
Meanwhile, Mr Regenvanu called on MSG leaders to favourably consider the application and elevate the Liberation Movement to full membership.
It has been well canvassed since the Liberation Movement was formed in Vanuatu in 2015 that it sought full membership in the MSG, much like the Kanaks' FLNKS Movement.
In the past few years, MSG member governments have been divided over whether to elevate the West Papuans' status in the group.
The membership bid's prospects of being approved depend largely on a change in position from PNG and Fiji who have been the strongest supporters of Indonesian rule in West Papua.

United Liberation Movement for West Papua chairman Benny Wenda Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins

Indonesia, which has associate member status in the MSG, is strongly opposed to the Liberation Movement. According to Jakarta, West Papuans are already represented in the MSG by Indonesia's position in the group.
Jakarta has also described the Liberation Movement's chairman Benny Wenda, who was granted asylum in Britain in 2003 after fleeing his homeland due to charges related to his pro-independence activities, as a criminal fugitive. Mr Wenda is generally considered a legitimate West Papuan leader in the Pacific.

Vanuatu advocacy

Vanuatu played a central role in the emergence of the Liberation Movement and has helped prepare the pro-independence Papuan organisation's MSG membership bid.
In 2016 and 2017, numerous Pacific Islands governments took Vanuatu's lead and spoke out strongly over their concern for West Papuan human rights and self-determination at the United Nations.
Yet as a result of its determined diplomatic outreach in the Pacific, Indonesia has more recently made inroads in eroding the support for Vanuatu regarding West Papua.
However, changes in leadership in the past couple of months in Solomon Islands and PNG could shift dynamics within the MSG.
"Vanuatu will definitely be seeking their support at the coming MSG leader's summit (in Vila), to support the application by the ULMWP," Ms Lini said.
Vanuatu's prime minister Charlot Salwai (left, with New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern) is hoping for support for its West Papua advocacy from regional countries such as New Zealand. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Johnny Blades

But the two incoming prime ministers are not necessarily going to guarantee safe passage for the Papuan membership bid.
In Solomon Islands, since being re-elected in April, Manasseh Sogavare has distanced himself from his previous strong support of Papuan independence aims during his last stint as prime minister,
PNG's new leader, James Marape, is unlikely to change his country's long-running policy of firm support for Indonesian control of Papua. Mr Marape said he will look to focus on growing trade links with Indonesia "in a big way".
Despite this, Vanuatu is applying fresh impetus to the West Papuan issue within the MSG whose rotational chairmanship it is due to take up this year.
Vanuatu's efforts at the MSG are part of a wider campaign to bring the Papua issue to the global community, with plans for UN resolutions including one seeking Papua's re-inscription on the decolonisation list.

Fiji's government criticised

The West Papua advocacy by Vanuatu's government contrasts starkly with that of Fiji's government which has forged close ties to Jakarta, and was instrumental in helping Indonesia join the MSG in 2011.
In Fiji's parliament this week, opposition member Anare Jale accused the Frank Bainimarama-led government of being silent on violations against West Papuans.
"Serious human rights abuses have been taking place in West Papua and we have chosen to look the other way," he said.
"How long can Fiji close her ears to the cries for freedom from our fellow Melanesians? It is blatantly obvious that Fiji has succumbed to Indonesia's cheque-book diplomacy - what a shame.”


Vanuatu's prime minister Charlot Salwai (left, with New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern) is hoping for support for its West Papua advocacy from regional countries such as New Zealand. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Johnny Blades
But the two incoming prime ministers are not necessarily going to guarantee safe passage for the Papuan membership bid.
In Solomon Islands, since being re-elected in April, Manasseh Sogavare has distanced himself from his previous strong support of Papuan independence aims during his last stint as prime minister,
PNG's new leader, James Marape, is unlikely to change his country's long-running policy of firm support for Indonesian control of Papua. Mr Marape said he will look to focus on growing trade links with Indonesia "in a big way".
Despite this, Vanuatu is applying fresh impetus to the West Papuan issue within the MSG whose rotational chairmanship it is due to take up this year.
Vanuatu's efforts at the MSG are part of a wider campaign to bring the Papua issue to the global community, with plans for UN resolutions including one seeking Papua's re-inscription on the decolonisation list.

Fiji's government criticised

The West Papua advocacy by Vanuatu's government contrasts starkly with that of Fiji's government which has forged close ties to Jakarta, and was instrumental in helping Indonesia join the MSG in 2011.
In Fiji's parliament this week, opposition member Anare Jale accused the Frank Bainimarama-led government of being silent on violations against West Papuans.
"Serious human rights abuses have been taking place in West Papua and we have chosen to look the other way," he said.
"How long can Fiji close her ears to the cries for freedom from our fellow Melanesians? It is blatantly obvious that Fiji has succumbed to Indonesia's cheque-book diplomacy - what a shame.”
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3) ULMWP applies for MSG membership


The United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) has officially submitted its application for full membership of the regional Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) with the formal handing-over of the application to the MSG Secretariat in Port Vila, Vanuatu on Wednesday 19th June.
The Deputy Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Mr Peter Eaefere, received the application that was presented to the MSG Secretariat on behalf of the ULMWP by Vanuatu’s Special Envoy for the Decolonization of West Papua to the Pacific Islands States, Ms Lora Lini. The formal handing-over of the application was witnessed by ULMWP executive member, Ms Paula Makabory, and the First Political Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade, Ms Anthea Toka Arukole.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade, Ralph Regenvanu, said the new application for membership of ULMWP in the MSG follows the new criteria and procedure for submission approved at the last MSG Summit in Port Moresby last year and calls for the full membership of the organization that represents the movement of the Melanesian people of West Papua in the MSG.
Regenvanu also called on Leaders of the MSG to favorably consider the application and to elevate the ULMWP from its current observer status to becoming a full member of the MSG family.
Regenvanu confirmed that Vanuatu would ensure that the submission of the new application by ULMWP would be brought to the attention of the Officials, Foreign Ministers and Leaders at the next MSG Leaders Meeting that is scheduled to be held in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
The submission of the application for full membership by the ULMWP comes shortly after the election of new Prime Ministers of MSG members the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
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